Warning:  This posts contains graphic images.  If you’re squeamish, come back tomorrow, when I’ll be all peace, love and farmer’s markets.

In the meantime – Chuck, this post is for you.  Ask, and ye shall (eventually) receive.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that since we’ve been buying our meat from local farmers, in bulk, we’ve become a bit more adventurous with our meals.  And I’m glad, because some of this stuff I’d never have thought to eat – mostly because you can’t find things neck bones and oxtails and marrow bones at your average grocery store – is also some of the tastiest stuff I’ve ever eaten.  Really.

That being said, I was still a bit nervous about cooking and eating this:

Yes, that would be a beef tongue.  And yes, it’s a tad…well, gross-looking.  Although I have to say far less gross-looking than I expected after researching just how to cook one of these bad boys, and I have my friends at Whitefeather Meats to thank for that – they did an excellent job of trimming the base of the tongue of all the gristle, bone and generally disgusting-looking stuff, something I was going to make Beloved do not looking forward to.

Now, having said all that, I have to tell you that gross-looking or not, it is absurdly simple to cook.  Nearly every recipe I’ve found, including those in my beloved 1972 copy of The Joy of Cooking, calls for boiling it whole, then dressing it up.  So that’s what I did – I dropped it in a large pot of boiling salted water and an hour later pulled it out, then that sucker peeled just like a banana.

Hey – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In all fairness, once cooked and sliced (or diced, as in this recipe), it looked far more appetizing:

See, isn’t that better?  It looks pretty much like a roast when sliced, and tastes just like one too – a very tender and flavorful roast.  It was, in fact, quite delicious.  Next time, this is where the preparation will end, aside from a sauce or condiment of some sort (I found a Thai preparation of beef tongue I’m just itching to make).  However, we made this into a classic Mexican dish – Lenguas – so I diced and spiced the tongue up before throwing it into my version of a taco shell (the leaves from a heart of romaine) and topping it with a little Corn and Black Bean Salsa, since we had all that corn laying around.

Oh, and did I mention that this 2-pound grass-fed beef tongue would have sold commercially for just over $3?  And if you need any further convincing, The Picky Young One went back for thirds, and that was eating just the lettuce, tongue and cheese.

Note:  You can, of course, substitute the corn and black bean salsa with something grain- and legume-free.



serves 8

2 pounds beef tongue
3 quarts water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
16 leaves romaine lettuce
4 ounces manchego or cheddar cheese, shaved
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup sour cream, (optional)
1 cup corn and black bean salsa (optional)

Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil with the tablespoon of kosher salt in a large stock pot. Add the tongue.  Return to a boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer. Cover and cook just until tender, about an hour.

Drain the tongue and allow to rest just until cool enough to handle – the skin should peel away easily from the base end.

Dice the meat and place in a wide, shallow skillet with the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the tongue is cooked through and the water has evaporated.

Divide the seasoned tongue between the romaine leaves and top with the tomato, cheese, sour cream and salsa (if using).  Serve immediately.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

10 thoughts on “Lenguas”

  1. Apparently, I ate a tongue taco a few weekends ago. My SIL “neglected” to mention that it was tongue on our tacos. It was tasty, though. I have to say, I’m glad I hadn’t seen the first shot before I ate it, though. I might have lost my lunch. I am definately one of those that needs to dissociate my from from where it came from.

  2. When I was younger, (9 years old,) I used to have tongue sandwiches. Granted, I was the only kid in school with them, but my great-grandmother was not disturbed. She used to cook it in the pressure cooker with a bit of water, aromatics, and seasonings. The gelatin extracted from the tongue was divine! I remember that the slices of tongue were so tender, it was ridiculous. If I had not let on that it was tongue, my friends would have made off with my sandwich. No worries though, I got to enjoy it all, with a hot mustard to boot! LOL

  3. Jan:
    So nice of you to remember me. And how did you know I love mexican food? That looks so easy even a caveman, like me, could do it. It looks so good even my wife would eat it. Heck, she has eaten beef heart and liked it. This recipe is bookmarked for future use.

  4. heh, I thought the same thing Twenty Four At Heart thought…

    You make everything look good! But sorry, you still won’t catch me eating tongue. Eating crow (metaphorically), sure, but tongue? Never!!! 🙂

    I think I may have mentioned this before (and my apologies if I’m being redundant) but when my parents bought their first house in 1963 and moved in, a neighbor left a cow tongue on their porch as a ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ thing. My mom wasn’t sure if she was flattered or insulted…needless to say, since she didn’t know how to cook (anything) at the time, she threw it out. 😉

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